The place that everyone “Oohhs” and “Aahhs” over. The place that everyone talks about.. The Maldives. It doesn’t quite have “real” unicorns, but it is definitely paradise! If you like tranquility, sunsets, and sea, the Maldives is perfect for you! It is also becoming quite the tourist location. It has been on my bucket list for a while and I finally had the pleasure to experience this one of a kind island for my husband’s 30th birthday. I was so impressed with its beauty! The water there is so clear and pristine.
The Maldives overall is pretty large and made up of lots of small islands. The capital, Male, is a small island of about 133,412 people. This seems small, but it is the most populated city of the Republic of Maldives. However, most tourist stay on one of the resorts, which my husband and I did as well. I will share with you tips, pictures, and our personal experiences. I hope you are along for the ride, as I can promise you won’t be disappointed. I will start with a few tips and pointers as I have received some questions about pricing, expectations and experiences. Let’s dive in…
1. Plan Ahead!
- SAVE: Before making this trip, I would encourage everyone to save. It is an amazing time, but it is costly! The most important thing here is knowing your budget and what you are getting into. The Maldives is not cheap, and their tax is pretty high.
- PLANE TICKETS: Look at least 4 months to a year out for plane tickets. The more you wait, the more expensive they are. We got ours at a good price per person, but I have also seen them at $8K+ per person. No, that was not a typo, $8,000 is correct. We did not pay nearly this much. Lol. We flew Delta/Air France all the way there and back.
- TRAVEL TIME: It takes approximately 24 hours (give or take) to get to the Maldives (24 hours each way, there and back).
- RESORT: There are tons of them. Pick whatever best suites your budget and needs. All resorts are approximately 20-45 minutes away from Male Airport.
- TRANSPORTATION ONCE YOU REACH MALE AIRPORT: This is important! When you arrive at the airport you have to get a transportation booked THROUGH your resort to get from the airport to the resort. It is NOT an option to book it without the resort. This is an extra fee that people miss, or at least I did. The only forms of transportation are by boat or seaplane. You DO NOT get to pick which form you would like to take. It is based off how far your resort is away from the airport and who your resort uses to carry passengers back and forth. I would NOT recommend waiting until the day of to try and book in hopes it will be cheaper because it is not. You also risk the chance of not getting to your resort on time as they book the transportation based off how many people are coming and going. BOAT: $308 plus tax per person | SEAPLANE: $508 (approx.) plus tax per person
- EXTRA FUNDS: Always make sure you have extra funds as everything in the Maldives is triple the price elsewhere. For example, something in the in the USA may cost $35 at Wal-Mart. In the Maldives it will be about $127 (including tax).
- WORTH IT: Although my first tips seem scary, it is totally worth it! Visit Male, Maldives
2. Visit Male, Maldives
As I mentioned earlier, my husband and I took a 2.5-3 hour tour of Maldives’ capital, Male. We booked it through our resort. It was a 30-min. boat ride to and from and included a tour guide. He was very informative and friendly. We learned a lot and became more familiar with the Maldivian culture and lifestyle. If you love culture and history, this is the tour for you. We were also able to see the fresh fish, fruit and veggie market, as well as a few of the well-known mosques. When I say fresh fish market, I mean fresh! They literally clean, debone, and behead the fish in front of you. Now let’s have a little fun. I mean c’mon I’m a blogger, of course I asked a bunch of questions and took notes to share with all my lovely readers (you 😊)! Below you will find fun facts about Male, Maldives. Enjoy!
- Common male names: Hussain, Adam, Mohmed, Ahmed, Ali, and Hassain
- Common female names: Marie, Fathuma, Anthu, Waheeda
- Common jobs: Tourism sector, government, fishing, taxi driver, tuna exporter (they produce lots of tuna in a can)
- Common foods: Curries and Naan (Their food is a lot like Indian cuisine)
- Religion: Muslim
- Ramadan can start at the age of 9
- No dogs allowed because of their religion. Sorry dog lovers!!
- The president lives in the heart of the city. His house is approximately a block or two from his office. He had a black Mercedes parked around the corner for him. This was the only luxury car we saw in the city. Yes, he takes the car to work. He does not walk. The old president did only because he was well liked by the people.
- Motorbikes are the main form of transportation
- No clubs and alcohol (only at the resorts) because of religion
- No homelessness – everyone usually has a job
- No McDonalds. Sorry you McNugget fans!!
- Monthly salary is between $900-$1000
- Most people live in apartments
- Rent is between $700-$800 a month
3. Resort of Choice
There are tons of resorts in the Maldives. They can be broken down by top all- inclusive, top dining, top eco-friendly, top family, top snorkeling, and top water villas. What you choose will be based off your own personal preference. For my husband and I, we wanted a resort with really good food and a DOPE water villa. Based off these preferences, we decided to go with Jumeirah Vittaveli. They fit our food and view criteria and was within our budget.
- NUMBER OF DAYS STAYED: 4 nights, 5 days
- EXPERIENCE: One hell of a great time! My husband and I absolutely loved every minute of this resort. It was a good time away from everything to be able to enjoy our surroundings and each other. The sunsets and water were amazing. Our villa had an outside bed, so we took many of naps during the day and afternoon. Listening to the water and surroundings was so relaxing.
- FOOD: The food will depend on what resort you choose. Jumeirah Vittaveli, where we stayed, had amazing food! The types of cuisines were American, Indian, Asian, and French. Everything was very flavorful! My favorite dishes were our French and Indian cuisine. Both were superb! We were very pleased with the dining at Jumeirah.
- WATER VILLA: AMAZING!!!! I originally booked a Sun Rise water villa, but because it was my husband’s birthday, they surprised us when we arrived with a free upgrade to the Ocean Suite Water Villas. You are probably wondering what the difference is. If so, great question. The Sunrise Water Villa/Sunset Water Villas can be accessed from the main island by a plank walkway and is smaller than the Ocean Suite Villa. The Ocean Suite Villas are large, in the middle of the water, and must be accessed by a boat. Getting to and from our room was not a problem. Our villa also had an infinity pool. While my husband played in the pool and the ocean, I floated in the pool and ocean on my Unicorn float. *shrugs* 😊 We had a blast. It was such an amazing experience!
- BEFORE YOU GO!: I would recommend purchasing and packing some items. A float from Wal-Mart may cost $25-$35 in the states. That same float will cost $115 plus tax in the Maldives.
There were tons of activities to do here, but all were mainly water activities. They also had bikes on the island that we rode. The other activities are as follows: snorkeling, wind surfing, catamaran, kite surfing, jet skiing, sea bobbing, parasailing, water skiing, wake boarding, knee boarding, fun toys, banana boat, and paddle boats. As you can see, there is plenty to choose from so no one should get left out. Lol.
JETSKIING: My husband absolutely loves jetskiing! He does it everywhere we travel that has lots of water. I have experienced jet skiing but decided not to do it here. I just watched, baked in the sun and took pictures of him. It truly is a fun experience. If you are on the fence, I would definitely say try it out.
PADDLEBOAT: We have done paddle boating once before and it seemed like a lot of leg work. Haha. This time it didn’t seem that hard. It was fun, but I was a little scared, as the waves were a little rough that day.
UNDERWATERSUBMARINE: My husband sat out on this. This was a submarine that the top was above water, but the part underwater had windows for guest to see the underwater world. I thought this was super neat and cool. I was able to see the coral reef and all the fish without getting wet. 😊 The reef here is amazing and beyond beautiful. The fish here are also cool, colorful and neat to see.
BIKERIDING: If you are a bike rider, this is for you. You could ride from one side of the island to the other. You could also ride on the plank walk way that leads out to the over water villas. We had a blast reminiscing on our childhoods while biking. My husband and I laughed and talked while trying to keep our balance. Don’t judge us. It’s been awhile!
RELAX: Well, it is the Maldives. Again, it’s full of tranquility, sunsets and sea. This is the place you go to truly get away and let your hair down. We did a lot of siting around taking in our surroundings…. relaxing!
Overall, the Maldives was a great time. We hope this post encourages you to one day experience paradise. You definitely will not be disappointed! The sunsets are truly amazing and maybe, just maybe you will find a Unicorn! Until next time…Enjoy! 😊